May 15, 2016: Pentecost Sunday
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
In her social doctrine the Church offers above all an integral vision of man and a complete understanding of his personal and social dimensions. Christian anthropology reveals the inviolable dignity of every person and places the realities of work, economics and politics into an original perspective that sheds light on authentic human values while at the same time inspiring and sustaining the task of Christian witness in the varied areas of personal, cultural and social life. Thanks to the “first fruits of the Spirit” (Rom 8:23), Christians become “capable of discharging the new law of love (cf. Rom 8:1-11). Through this Spirit, who is ‘the pledge of our inheritance’ (Eph 1:14), the whole man is renewed from within, even to the achievement of ‘the redemption of the body’ (Rom 8:23)”. In this sense the Church’s social doctrine shows how the moral basis of all social action consists in the human development of the person and identifies the norm for social action corresponding to humanity’s true good and as efforts aimed at creating the conditions that will allow every person to satisfy his integral vocation. (522) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Acts 2:1-11
Psalm: 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Romans 8:8-17
Gospel: John 20:19-23 or John 14:15-16, 23b-26
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Thus the Church’s mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit, but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members, the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity (the topic of the next article):
All of us who have received one and the same Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, are in a sense blended together with one another and with God. For if Christ, together with the Father’s and his own Spirit, comes to dwell in each of us, though we are many, still the Spirit is one and undivided. He binds together the spirits of each and every one of us, . . . and makes all appear as one in him. For just as the power of Christ’s sacred flesh unites those in whom it dwells into one body, I think that in the same way the one and undivided Spirit of God, who dwells in all, leads all into spiritual unity. (738) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction Pentecost Sunday, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The Old Testament presents God as the omnipotent Creator (cf. Gen 2:2; Job 38-41; Ps104; Ps 147) who fashions man in his image and invites him to work the soil (cf. Gen 2:5-6),and cultivate and care for the garden of Eden in which he has placed him (cf. Gen 2:15). To the first human couple God entrusts the task of subduing the earth and exercising dominion over every living creature (cf. Gen 1:28). The dominion exercised by man over other living creatures, however, is not to be despotic or reckless; on the contrary he is to “cultivate and care for” (Gen 2:15) the goods created by God. These goods were not created by man, but have been received by him as a precious gift that the Creator has placed under his responsibility. Cultivating the earth means not abandoning it to itself; exercising dominion over it means taking care of it, as a wise king cares for his people and a shepherd his sheep.
In the Creator’s plan, created realities, which are good in themselves, exist for man’s use. The wonder of the mystery of man’s grandeur makes the psalmist exclaim: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him little less than god, and crown him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Ps 8:5-7). (255)
The relationship of man with the world is a constitutive part of his human identity. This relationship is in turn the result of another still deeper relationship between man and God. The Lord has made the human person to be a partner with him in dialogue. Only in dialogue with God does the human being find his truth, from which he draws inspiration and norms to make plans for the future of the world, which is the garden that God has given him to keep and till (cf. Gen 2: 15). Not even sin could remove this duty, although it weighed down this exalted work with pain and suffering (cf. Gen 3:17-19).
Creation is always an object of praise in Israel’s prayer: “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all” (Ps 104:24). Salvation is perceived as a new creation that re-establishes that harmony and potential for growth that sin had compromised: “I create new heavens and a new earth” (Is 65:17) — says the Lord — in which “the wilderness becomes a fruitful field … and righteousness [will] abide in the fruitful field … My people will abide in a peaceful habitation” (Is 32:1518). (452)
John 14:16, 26
The documents referred to here constitute the milestones of the path travelled by the Church’s social doctrine from the time of Pope Leo XIII to our own day. This brief summary would become much longer if we considered all the interventions motivated, other than by a specific theme, by “the pastoral concern to present to the entire Christian community and to all men of good will the fundamental principles, universal criteria and guidelines suitable for suggesting basic choices and coherent practice for every concrete situation”.
In the formulation and teaching of this social doctrine, the Church has been, and continues to be, prompted not by theoretical motivation but by pastoral concerns. She is spurred on by the repercussions that social upheavals have on people, on multitudes of men and women, on human dignity itself, in contexts where “man painstakingly searches for a better world, without working with equal zeal for the betterment of his own spirit”. For these reasons, this social doctrine has arisen and developed an “updated doctrinal ‘corpus’ … [that] builds up gradually, as the Church, in the fullness of the word revealed by Christ Jesus and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 14:16,26; 16:13-15), reads events as they unfold in the course of history”. (104)
John 14:21, 23-24
The Church has the right to be a teacher for mankind, a teacher of the truth of faith: the truth not only of dogmas but also of the morals whose source lies in human nature itself and in the Gospel. The word of the Gospel, in fact, is not only to be heard but is also to be observed and put into practice (cf. Mt 7:24; Lk 6:46-47; Jn 14:21,23-24; Jas 1:22). Consistency in behaviour shows what one truly believes and is not limited only to things strictly church-related or spiritual but involves men and women in the entirety of their life experience and in the context of all their responsibilities. However worldly these responsibilities may be, their subject remains man, that is, the human being whom God calls, by means of the Church, to participate in his gift of salvation.
Men and women must respond to the gift of salvation not with a partial, abstract or merely verbal acceptance, but with the whole of their lives — in every relationship that defines life — so as not to neglect anything, leaving it in a profane and worldly realm where it is irrelevant or foreign to salvation. For this reason the Church’s social doctrine is not a privilege for her, nor a digression, a convenience or interference: it is her right to proclaim the Gospel in the context of society, to make the liberating word of the Gospel resound in the complex worlds of production, labour, business, finance, trade, politics, law, culture, social communications, where men and women live. (70)
John 20:19, 21, 26
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12; Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf.Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
Professionals in the field of media are not the only people with ethical duties. Those who make use of the media also have obligations. Media operators who try to meet their responsibilities deserve audiences who are aware of their own responsibilities. The first duty of media users is to be discerning and selective. Parents, families and the Church have precise responsibilities they cannot renounce. For those who work, in various capacities, in the area of social communications, the warning of St. Paul rings out loud and clear: “Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another … Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:25, 29). Serving the human person through the building up of a human community based on solidarity, justice and love, and spreading the truth about human life and its final fulfilment in God remain at the heart of ethics in the media. In the light of faith, human communication can be seen as a journey from Babel to Pentecost, or rather, as the personal and social commitment to overcome the collapse of communication (cf. Gen 11:4-8), opening people to the gift of tongues (cf. Acts 2:5-11), to communication as restored by the power of the Spirit sent by the Son. (562)
The Lord Jesus is the prototype and foundation of the new humanity. In him, the true “likeness of God” (2 Cor 4:4), man — who is created in the image of God — finds his fulfilment. In the definitive witness of love that God has made manifest in the cross of Christ, all the barriers of enmity have already been torn down (cf. Eph 2:12-18), and for those who live a new life in Christ, racial and cultural differences are no longer causes of division (cf.Rom 10:12; Gal 3:26-28; Col 3:11).
Thanks to the Spirit, the Church is aware of the divine plan of unity that involves the entire human race (cf. Acts 17:26), a plan destined to reunite in the mystery of salvation wrought under the saving Lordship of Christ (cf. Eph 1:8-10) all of created reality, which is fragmented and scattered. From the day of Pentecost, when the Resurrection is announced to diverse peoples, each of whom understand it in their own language (cf. Acts 2:6), the Church fulfils her mission of restoring and bearing witness to the unity lost at Babel. Due to this ecclesial ministry, the human family is called to rediscover its unity and recognize the richness of its differences, in order to attain “full unity in Christ”.(431)
The salvation offered in its fullness to men in Jesus Christ by God the Father’s initiative, and brought about and transmitted by the work of the Holy Spirit, is salvation for all people and of the whole person: it is universal and integral salvation. It concerns the human person in all his dimensions: personal and social, spiritual and corporeal, historical and transcendent. It begins to be made a reality already in history, because what is created is good and willed by God, and because the Son of God became one of us. Its completion, however, is in the future, when we shall be called, together with all creation (cf. Rom 8), to share in Christ’s resurrection and in the eternal communion of life with the Father in the joy of the Holy Spirit. This outlook shows quite clearly the error and deception of purely immanentistic visions of the meaning of history and in humanity’s claims to self-salvation. (38)
(522) See Catholic Social Teaching section above
Romans 8 14-17
The new reality that Jesus Christ gives us is not grafted onto human nature nor is it added from outside: it is rather that reality of communion with the Trinitarian God to which men and women have always been oriented in the depths of their being, thanks to their creaturely likeness to God. But this is also a reality that people cannot attain by their own forces alone. Through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, in whom this reality of communion has already been brought about in a singular manner, men and women are received as children of God (cf. Rom 8:14-17; Gal 4:4-7). By means of Christ, we share in the nature of God, who gives us infinitely more “than all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20). What mankind has already received is nothing more than a token or a “guarantee” (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:14) of what it will receive in its fullness only in the presence of God, seen “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12), that is, a guarantee of eternal life: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). (122)
The Face of God, progressively revealed in the history of salvation, shines in its fullness in the Face of Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead. God is Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; truly distinct and truly one, because God is an infinite communion of love. God’s gratuitous love for humanity is revealed, before anything else, as love springing from the Father, from whom everything draws its source; as the free communication that the Son makes of this love, giving himself anew to the Father and giving himself to mankind; as the ever new fruitfulness of divine love that the Holy Spirit pours forth into the hearts of men (cf.Rom 5:5).
By his words and deeds, and fully and definitively by his death and resurrection, Jesus reveals to humanity that God is Father and that we are all called by grace to become his children in the Spirit (cf. Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6), and therefore brothers and sisters among ourselves. It is for this reason that the Church firmly believes that “the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man’s history is to be found in her Lord and Master” (31)
1st Corinthians 12:13
“God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34; cf. Rom 2:11; Gal 2:6; Eph 6:9), since all people have the same dignity as creatures made in his image and likeness. The Incarnation of the Son of God shows the equality of all people with regard to dignity: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28; cf. Rom 10:12; 1 Cor 12:13, Col 3:11).
Since something of the glory of God shines on the face of every person, the dignity of every person before God is the basis of the dignity of man before other men. Moreover, this is the ultimate foundation of the radical equality and brotherhood among all people, regardless of their race, nation, sex, origin, culture, or class. (144)
Belief in the Holy Spirit, igniting its fire of faith in our lives, leads us to realize our need for interconnectedness. Since no one has been bestowed all the spiritual gifts, with a humble spirit we must collaborate in the spiritual and social mission of the Church. Freely nurturing and using our personal gifts, while affirming and supporting the gifts given to others. One gift does not laud over others, take precedent or gloat in an air of superiority, but we must strive to develop a complementary balance so gifts are used for God’s greatest glory. How might this look in ministry at our parishes? Are ministries fragmented, isolated entities? How might we form synergistic alliances? Care for creation and respect life co-hosting educational outreach, the food pantry networking with the seniors group to see if they have special dietary or service needs, outreach to the homeless working with parish social concerns ministries to lobby on systemic change towards issues contributing to homelessness.
To use our gifts in isolation, we thwart the power of the Holy Spirit to transform our lives and the world. Individually, our gifts used in isolation are a selfish pursuit. We build humility when seeing the exponential magnification of people collaborate their gifts for the greater common good. We don’t look at another as an opponent in a race to build the best ministry or outreach program, but see the benefit of building diverse ministries complementing and supporting one another, working to build God’s kingdom. We shed a spirit of slavery to grandeur and fear of the need to generate immense personal success to bear witness to our spirit of adoption as heir with Christ. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit, first by pronouncing peace, so we are sent forth with His indwelling of peace within us. If we ever feel the peace is absent, it becomes time to ponder if our mission is self-centered to accentuate my gifts and how have we lost sight of intertwining the gifts freely given to others. We must remember the Holy Spirit is not rationed, but full in abundance to all receptive to its divine power. With the Spirit within us, we understand the ministerial language spoken by another, to understand its efficacious potential, even with its different jargon, methodology and participants to proclaim the mighty power of God. The Holy Spirit transforms our lives, an animated anointing of grace, so we may gladly go forth and renew the face of the earth collectively.
Individual Reflection: Ponder how you might better collaborate in your ministry outreach and implement some new initiatives.
Family Reflection: Pray the Chaplet of the Holy Spirit:
Discuss the different aspects of the Holy Spirit and how each family member feels the Holy Spirit is present in their lives.
Chaplet of the Holy Spirit
The Chaplet of the Holy Spirit was composed in 1892 by a Franciscan Capuchin missionary of the English province in order to give the faithful an easy means honoring the Holy Ghost. It was approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1902. It is intended to be in regard to the Holy Ghost what the Dominican Rosary is in regard to the Blessed Virgin.
This Rosary consists of five groups of seven beads each. Before and after each group there are two large beads, that is twelve large beads in all. In addition there are three small beads at the beginning. On these three beads one makes the Sign of the Cross, recites an
Act of Contrition and the hymn, Come, Holy Ghost.
In each group the Glory be to the Father is said on the seven small beads, an Our Father and a Hail Mary on the two large beads. On the remaining two large beads are said the Apostles’ Creed and an Our Father and Hail Mary for the intention of the Holy Father.
There is a mystery for each of the five groups; the number five commemorating the Five Wounds of Jesus which are the fountains of grace which the Holy Ghost imparts to all men. The reflections suggested are as follows:
The First Mystery
By the Holy Ghost is Jesus conceived of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Meditation: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: and therefore also the holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35).
The Practice: Diligently implore the aid of the Divine Spirit, and Mary’s intercession, to imitate the virtues of Jesus Christ, Who is the Model of virtues, so that you may be made conformable to the image of the Son of God.
The Second Mystery
The Spirit of the Lord rested upon Jesus
The Meditation: “Jesus, being Baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo! the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him.”
The Practice: Hold in the highest esteem the priceless gift of sanctifying grace, infused into your soul by the Holy Ghost in Baptism. Keep the promises to which you then pledged yourself. Increase, by constant practice, Faith, Hope and Charity. Ever live as becometh children of God and members of God’s true Church, so as to obtain, hereafter, the inheritance of Heaven.
The Third Mystery
By the Spirit is Jesus led into the desert
The Meditation: “Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the desert for the space of forty days; and was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4:1, 2).
The Practice: Be ever grateful for the sevenfold gift of the Holy Ghost bestowed upon you in Confirmation, for the spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and fortitude, of knowledge and piety, and of the fear of the Lord. Faithfully yield to His Divine guidance, so that, in all the trials and temptations of life, you may act manfully, as becometh a perfect Christian and valiant soldier of Jesus Christ.
The Fourth Mystery
The Holy Ghost in the Church
The Meditation: “Suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting . . . and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak . . . the wonderful works of God.” (Acts 11:2, 4, 11).
The Practice: Thank God for having made you a child of His Church which is ever animated and directed by the Divine Spirit, sent into this world for that purpose on the day of Pentecost. Hear and obey the Holy See, the infallible mouthpiece of the Holy Ghost, and the Church, the pillar and ground of truth. Uphold her doctrines, seek her interests, defend her rights.
The Fifth Mystery
The Holy Ghost in the soul of the just man
The Meditation: “Know you not that you members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, Who is in you?” (I Cor. 6:19). “Extinguish not the Spirit:” (1 Thess. 5:19). “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption:” (Eph. 4:30).
The Practice: Be ever mindful of the Holy Ghost Who is within you, and carefully cultivate purity of soul and body. Faithfully obey His Divine inspirations so that you may bring forth the Fruits of the Spirit —- Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, Long-suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency, Chastity.
Conclude with the Apostles’ Creed [See Below] as a profession of faith.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of
Heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ,
His only Son, our Lord who was conceived by
the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered
under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell; the third day He
arose again from the dead; He ascended into
Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God
the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come
to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion
of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection
of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Come Holy Ghost
COME, Holy Ghost Creator blest,
And in our souls take up Thy rest,
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
And fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
To Thee, the Comforter, we cry,
To Thee, the gift of God most high,
The fount of life, the fire of love,
The soul’s anointing from above.
The sevenfold gifts of grace are Thine,
O Finger of the hand Divine;
True promise of the Father Thou,
Who dost the tongue with speech endow.
Thy light to every thought impart,
And shed Thy love in every heart;
Our body’s poor infirmity
With strength perpetual fortify.
Our mortal foe afar repel,
Grant us henceforth in peace to dwell;
If Thou be our preventing guide,
No evil can our steps betide.
Make Thou to us the Father known;
Teach us the Eternal Son to own,
And Thee, Whose name we ever bless,
Of Both the Spirit to confess.
All glory while the ages run
Be to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death; the same to Thee,
O Holy Ghost, eternally.
Prayer: Reflect on the words said at your Confirmation and let it be your prayer this Pentecost
All powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born May 10, 2016 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.